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Bipolarcarer
Contributor

Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

So, not sure where to start, I posted back in 2019 and still going on this journey with some progress but my mental state continues to worsen as I am trying to be supported/valued/respected in the relationship too..

Anyway quick recap, bipolar partner who went 5 years with a psychiatrist who failed to diagnose it despite fortnightly appointments that whole time. Eventually they diagnosed her after 2 years of intense mania that did a lot of damage to us both. Now we are 2 years on and still doing relationship counselling and feel like we are still going in circles.

She is stable I think as she is sleeping OK still (that is the most obvious warning sign of mania) but I am really struggling with the flip flopping opinions about things that is driving my insecurity in the realtionship.

Not entirely sure what I want to ask, maybe how do other people in relationships with bipolar people deal with this stuff and even when stable and not appearing to be manic how much of the bipolar traits do they still see???

I will give some examples of what I struggle with.

1) flip flopping, so we will discuss something in realtionship counselling she wil l make promises/commitments whatever and then flip flop on it later, then flip back again and it is really destabalising for me as I am struggle to feel secure again in the relationship after some infedality type issues and the flip flopping of her position is very destabalising for me.


2) Anger when she feels guilty... I find it hard that she is so patient and understanding with her friends suffering mental health and/or relationship issues but when I am struggling her initial response is to get angry and punish me as even if I just say I am struggling and not put any blame onto her she says she knows it is her and struggles with "blocking out the voice (in herself not me) telling me it's my fault that you feel shit."...

I really don't know where to go with that second one as it is when I am most vulnerable that her treatment of me is the worst. Generally when she notices I am depressed/struggling (whatever) and she starts to get angry at me for that I have to leave the house for a few hours to give her time to calm down and maybe be more receptive to my pain.. The problem is it feels like a catch 22 as I am having to be the bigger person and take responsibility for ensuring things don't get worse when I am at my most vulnerable... It does so much damage too to be in that state and have to leave the house, as it re-inforces the pain and I'm scared (as my friends tell me) this will eventually break me as I can never get free of the suffering and feel secure again...

38 REPLIES 38

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

@Bipolarcarer 

 

welcome to my life.

 

I don't have time to write a proper reply but I will later today or tomorrow.

 

much to discuss

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

I thought I would add the anger/rage at me (for being hurt by her) and the flip flopping and associated gas lighting, i.e. that I was imagining conversations were also two of the major factors in the intense manic period that caused me the most distress.

2 years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD resulting from that period in time which I am still struggling with (still medicated for myself), though it did get a lot better (my PTSD) but has gone backwards lately (to some extent).

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

Hello @Bipolarcarer 

I have lived with Bipolar1 for 27yrs. Nothing changed for me until I stepped up and became part of of my own recovery. Now I understand and know my early warning signs and symptoms. It was a hard and rocky road, never a straight one and is continuously changing and mostly goes smoothly now with regular maintenance.

 

I know I put my family through hell, I didn't purposely do it, I didn't know how to help myself and I just wasn't capable or maybe even ready. I read that your aware of that with your partner and your very supportive, caring and have a lot of insight.

 

I'm wondering what kind of or if you have any professional supports in place for you?

Do you get time by yourself to do hobbies or self care, exercise, meditation's, church or anything that is a feel good for yourself?

 

Dont think I've helped shed any light, but maybe bring a little focus into ways that may help you to fill up your well.

 

Best wishes x

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

Yeah I have my own hobbies and take my own time out when I can, it's more about feeling comfortable/safe within the relationship that I struggle with.

I do have a psychologist to help me, but that has been a long road too as I am on my third in two years, the last two got very negative about my partners behaviour and that just flamed my negative feelings. The current one seems better, so far, but we are still only a few sessions in and there is a lot of history to cover.

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

@Bipolarcarer I'm happy to hear that you keep topping your well up.

It must get tiring and confusing for you.

I pray you find helpful solutions soon that bring comfort and help you feel at ease in your relationship 🙏


Love & hugs

 

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

hello @Bipolarcarer , sorry to hear you are having a bad day 

My husband has bipolar 2 and I have had lots of ups and downs over the years 

I had to learn that what he says he does not mean it 

i find it does goes around in circles and now that he is on anti depressants as well as anti anxiety meds we still have ups and downs 

I will tag @Sophie1 

and also i will tag you at My life partner has Bipolar ii to come and have a read 

i have also found over the years that if i am ok , he is okish 

here if you have any questions 

Carers Hints and tips to Success 

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

@Bipolarcarer sorry it's taken me a few days.

 

I completely relate to your feeling that you get into the most trouble when your partner feels guilty. Sometimes it is completely irrational. He will wake me up during the night looking for a hat, or a hanky or the chocolate that he keeps under the pillow that melts into the bed.... but I have learnt to pretend to still be asleep up until the moment the lights go on and I'm asked to help. If I "wake up" while he thinks he's still being quiet and trying not to wake me I get accused of all sorts of nonsense. "Can I help swearheart?" is responded to as if I've started calling him names and yelling about being woken.

 

When he's ok, if I try and talk to him about things that have been an issue while he's been on a rant, he shuts down completely and won't talk, often taking himself off to bed for the rest of the day.

 

I've been playing the game for three years now and I had no idea what I was taking on. Slowly, slowly I'm learning not to believe everything I'm told when the Angry Man is talking.

 

A year ago when he needed a new psycologist I referred him to a lady I'd seen following a bereavement 5 years ago. She is lovely. Earlier this year when I thought I needed some help myself again she passed me onto a colleague. That colleague told me if I wasn't prepared to leave him she couldn't help me. I wanted help to manage the feelings of frustration and anger I'm driven to, but she said she didn't want to turn me into "a robot with no feelings". Hmmmm

 

So now, once a month I'm going with him to see his Dr with him as a couple's consultation. We had our first one last week and as soon as I started to open up a bit, and got a bit weepy, he shut down completely and was very hostile with the Dr if she asked him for any response. Dunno what to do now.

 

His moods have been controlled reasonably well for the last couple of months due to some changes in meds - but also it is cyclic and I think there may be another bad patch on the horizon judging by his sleeping patterns and appetite. Like @Shaz51 says - I'm pretty good if he's not too bad.

 

I have to overcome the trauma reponse to his bad moods that I've developed over the last year and a bit. He moved into my place when the pandemic started and never went home. Prior to that I had a few nights a week to myself which was enough respite to cope with whatever happened the other times. Now I'm a bit ptsd'y in my responses to even a little upset - it triggers in me an over reaction which, in turn, makes him angrier. That was why I want professional help.

 

At least I got to explain it to him in the pdoc's office last week, even if it did make him sullen and withdrawn. Maybe he'll remember and cut me some slack. Counselling won't work unless both parties are willing to play.

 

anyway - at work so better sign off.

 

S

 

 

 

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

You're right, we do seem to have a fair bit of similar lived experience here..

"When he's ok, if I try and talk to him about things that have been an issue while he's been on a rant, he shuts down completely and won't talk, often taking himself off to bed for the rest of the day."

Yeah that is what happens to me, if I talk about stuff while she is UP she gets angry, if she is DOWN then she shuts down, there are moments where she is receptive and can be supportive, but I like to say it is a bit like playing russian roulette, I can't seem to tell still, when that supportive time is and it's hard to balance those times with the others..

In relationship counselling she often gets upset and cries and I start feeling like an abusive partner for being hurt and wanting to talk about things, at other times she gets angry and storms out but the getting upset is more common..

 

" That colleague told me if I wasn't prepared to leave him she couldn't help me."

That is familiar, I am on my 3rd psychologist as the first critizised the relationship counsellor (that he recommended) and my partner and said the same thing I quoted that you heard pretty much word for word, the second just shut me down all the time with "your partner is a very selfish person what do you expect?" so now I am on my 3rd, so far she hasn't said those magic words yet.. time will tell but I think she is better... I do also see a psychiatrist every 3-4 months for the mild anti-depressant I am on and she said something that was more heart wrenching than what the psychologists have said, she sais "you are so focussed on supporting your partner and the guilt for your own difficulties with her behaviour, but you have a right to be in a happy and supportive relationship too".. That hit hard..

"Now I'm a bit ptsd'y in my responses to even a little upset - it triggers in me an over reaction which, in turn, makes him angrier. That was why I want professional help."

Yeah similar thing to what I am struggling with..

I have the added complication I think that she is a heavy cannibus user which her psych knows about and told me would mean we can't get her stable on medication while she continues but also told me "we can't stop her smoking". I may go with her to her next session and just ask her psych in front of her "what affect would it have on her mental state" but  HATES it when I bring up her drug use as she believes it is benefitial. Also hard as I brought it up with the relationship counsellor and she made commitments easily (won't smoke during day anymore) but that lasted 3 days and was forgotten about and now I feel like I would be dobbing her in to bring it up again in that setting..

Re: Struggling with bipolar partner and relationship counselling etc etc

Hi @Bipolarcarer & @SJT63
It sounds like you're both going through some difficult situations with your partners which are difficult to navigate and bring up some hard feelings. I just wanted to encourage the both of you to reach out for extra support if needed. There's Relationships Australia, 1800 Respect or SANE's Helpcentre is also open until 10pm if you'd just like to speak to someone 1:1, because you are both deserving of support for yourselves also. Please take good care of yourselves. 🌹

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